You may have concerns over how much water damage may occur from your fire sprinkler system in the event of a fire. Unfortunately, most people have only seen sprinklers in action in movies or on television. This has led to preconceived and distorted ideas that sprinklers discharge massive amounts of water and can be easily activated. When considering the amount of water damage caused by fire sprinklers, you need to consider the facts that these devices save lives and help minimize fire damage.
Your concerns about water damage should be minimal regarding fire sprinklers because they:
Once fire breaks out, it can quickly spread to other areas, especially if flammable materials are available to feed it. Fire sprinklers are activated by heat, and once the temperature reaches about 135 degrees, they will go off usually within minutes. This is much faster than the time it would take for firefighters to arrive on the scene once the fire has been discovered and reported.
Each sprinkler head operates independently; therefore only one or two may activate at the source of the fire. This contradicts what you may have seen depicted in movies. Additional heads will activate if needed to control the fire.
According to the Scottsdale Report, the average amount of water used by a fire sprinkler to control a fire is 341 gallons. The average amount used by firefighters with a hose from a fire hydrant is 2,935 gallons, almost 10 times as much. Without fire sprinklers, you may be looking at not only extensive fire damage, but also more extensive water damage. A study performed by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) found that property damage was reduced by 69 percent in fires where automatic fire sprinklers were in use.
A smoke detector is often not enough to warn and protect building occupants if a fire breaks out. Sadly, in some cases, detectors may have dead or missing batteries or may not be communicating well with the control panel. Sprinklers help to control and extinguish fires, thereby giving occupants an opportunity to escape. Overall, fire sprinklers can help reduce injuries and fatalities.
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